These Sugar Plum Crumb Bars have a buttery crust, a crumbly topping, and they're filled with a sweet plum jam. Orange zest and juice add a citrusy surprise to brighten them up. Then, they're topped off with a dusting of powdered sugar to really push them over the top!
Calling all my Nutcracker Ballet lovers! These Sugar Plum Crumb Bars were inspired by the Sugar Plum Fairy and her dance to a tune we've all come to know (seriously, go listen to it!). Filled with sweet plum preserves with a touch of orange flavor encased in a buttery crumb crust and topping, then dusted with powdered sugar. These bars are as delicate and light as the Sugar Plum Fairy!
So, what is a sugar plum?
A sugar plum is actually a type of candy and it often doesn't even contain any plum!
Here's a nice short article from The Kitchn where they look at the history of the sugar plum.
However, for this recipe, I took the idea of sugar plums and turned it into a treat that is perfectly fitting for the holiday season!
How To Make Sugar Plum Crumb Bars
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease a 9x9 baking dish with butter. Then line it with parchment paper leaving a few inches of overhang on either side.
In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in 30-second bursts stirring between each one. If the butter is hot, allow it to cool for a minute before moving on.
Add the flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest to the melted butter and stir until well combined.
In a small bowl, mix together the plum jam and orange juice.
Press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan.
Pour the plum jam mixture over the crust and spread it out evenly with a spoon. Then, crumble the other half of the dough on top of the jam.
Bake the crumb bars for 35 to 40 minutes, or just until the top begins to lightly brown.
Allow the bars to completely cool in the pan. This will probably take about two hours.
Once they are completely cool, pull them out of the pan using the parchment paper handles.
Using a fine-mesh sifter, dust the top with powdered sugar.
Then, cut them into however many bars you like. I cut mine in half, then each half in half again. Rotate and repeat the other direction. This gave me 16 small bars.
Items I Used To Make These Bars
Microplane for zesting the orange
Fine-mesh sifter for dusting with powdered sugar
Tips for Making Sugar Plum Crumb Bars
- As this bakes, the jam around the edges will bubble up and become tacky. If you prefer for it not to do that, leave a half-inch gap between the jam and the edge of the pan. Then top with the crumble topping going all the way out to the edges.
- To keep the crumble topping buttery and not dried out, bake just until lightly browned.
How to Store Crumb Bars
Keep the crumb bars in an air-tight container on the counter. Be sure to eat them up within 3 to 4 days.
These bars can also be frozen for longer storage by placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet and flash freezing for 2 hours. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container. They'll keep for up to 6 months.
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Sugar Plum Crumb Bars
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- Zest from 1 small orange
- 1 cup plum jam or preserves preferably from black plums like Damson
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 to 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9x9 inch baking pan with butter. Then, line with a strip of parchment paper cut to fit, leaving several inches of overhang on either side.
- In a large bowl, melt the butter in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each one. If the butter is hot, allow it to cool a bit before moving on.
- To the melted butter, add the flour, sugar, salt, and orange zest. Mix until well combined.
- In a small bowl, mix together the plum jam and orange juice
- Using your hands, press half of the dough into the bottom of the prepared baking dish. Then, spread out the jam mixture. Crumble the other half of the dough evenly over the jam.
- Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, just until the top begins to very lightly brown.
- Allow the bars to completely cool in the pan, about 2 hours. Then, remove them from the pan using the parchment paper handles.
- Using a fine-mesh sifter, dust the top of the bars with powdered sugar.
- Cut the bars in half, then cut each half in half again to give you 4 rows. Then, rotate the bars and repeat the other way. This will yield 16 small bars.